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Davis, Alexander E. and Thakur, Vineet (2016) 'Walking the Thin Line: India's Anti-Racist Diplomatic Practice in South Africa, Canada, and Australia, 1946–55.' The International History Review, 38 (5). pp. 880-899.

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Historians of India's foreign policy have often failed to see beyond the ‘Great man’ Jawaharlal Nehru. This Nehru-centric vision is not only misleading, but also unfair to Nehru. Here, we seek to take the gaze off Nehru and New Delhi so as to view Indian foreign policy from different locations. We examine the ways in which India's diplomats in Australia, Canada, and South Africa resisted racial discrimination. India's anti-racist diplomacy has most often been viewed as pointless moralistic ranting: the domain of the ‘hypersensitive, emotional’ Indian. We argue, however, based on largely unexamined archival material and an emphasis on the practice of Indian diplomacy, that India's diplomats in these bastions of settler-colonial racism were tactful, strategic, and effective in challenging racist, colonial practices and bringing an anti-racist discourse to international politics. Nehruvian foreign-policy discourse, and its goal of an anti-racist world order, then, was tempered by its diplomatic practices. In particular, this occurred outside of New Delhi in places where India's hopes for productive international relationships clashed with its Nehruvian worldview.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Indian diplomacy, anti-racism, diplomatic practice, Commonwealth, Jawaharlal Nehru
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 07075332
Copyright Statement: © 2016 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International History Review on 04 Mar 2016 available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 15:50

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